rI came to OA to lose weight. I didn't know it, but I also came to lose the emotional pain that drove my being overweight.
I tried to smile and kid about my weight, but it was eating me up inside. I ate to escape painful feelings. In exchange, I received a new set of painful feelings and health problems.
I tried every diet and every food fad. I thought I'd be better if I were thin. I failed in every way and felt miserable and hopeless. Eventually, my pain and failure were more overwhelming than my reasons for not trying OA.
I thought I didn't have to buy the mumbo-jumbo about Higher Powers and God. Maybe the program would help me lose weight; that's what I wanted. I knew I could ignore all the religious claptrap. I thought to myself, "God, I've got nowhere else to go" (Did I say God?)
I came and lost weight, but I found that if I only lost weight and gained nothing, then OA would be for me just a successful diet club. As with the diet clubs, success would invariably be followed by failure-at least for me.
The OA program is not about losing weight, and it is not a diet club. The program is tough to maintain, but it is the way we achieve serenity and peace. These are the goals of the program, not losing weight.
Now I deal better with all the things that drove me to food. I don't hold onto resentments. I don't wallow in guilt. I don't stay angry. I move on from my mistakes. I forgive those who hurt me.
I have lost weight and kept it within or close to my target range. But my real achievement and feeling of success comes not from what I lost, but from what I gained - a far greater peace than I have ever know.
-Edited and reprinted from Road to Recover newsletter Westchester United Intergroup, April 2001. This story was later reprinted in LifeLine, October 2002, p. 2., Copyright Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.